CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Simone Biles, the American gymnast who was a part of the Olympics taking place this year, brought mental health center stage when she decided to back out of the competition.
The Games of Texas are being held in Corpus Christi this year and some athletes feel the pressure of winning while others do it just for fun.
Estefania Rico, 15, came all the way from McCallen,TX to Corpus Christi to compete in the swimming competitions. She said she looks at the competition as something that makes her happy, which helps relieve some of the stress that comes with competing.
“You have to be positive and always think positive and never take no as an answer. Always take the lead of it,” she said.
She said it took dedication to waking up early, managing her time wisely, and working with her team to get her mentally prepared for the competition. This weekend her family and parents are motivating her to do well because she said they got her to where she is today. She said sometimes, younger athletes need to focus on why they started competing to push through the pressure that comes with trying to win a competition.
“If you’re young and you feel like you can’t do it, like before you think you can’t do it, you want to look back on why you started. If you want to give up you’re like wait, why did I start in the first place because I want to do this. I like this,” she said.
Asking yourself why you started competing and playing the sport is exactly what Corpus Christi counselor Dr. Adriana Dyurich recommends athletes do if they are feeling stressed during a competition and just want to quit. She said they should train their minds just as much as they train their bodies to compete.
“Why are you doing this? What is the joy that you derive from practicing your sport?” Dyurich encourages athletes to ask themselves.
However, coaches can also feel the pressure of training their athletes to keep their mind strong during a competition. Drewmarc Smith is the coach of White House Tyler Metro from Tyler, TX, a track team, and encourages his athletes to think of who they’re competing against.
“You’ve got somebody besides you trying to beat you so you got to think about them too. They’re going through the same regiments as you but hey, you have to want it more than them,” he said.
Dr. Julia Dell’Aquila-Linare is also a counselor in Corpus Christi and encourages athletes who may be feeling pressure to win from coaches and parents to question if competing in the sport is really a passion and dream of theirs.
“Am I pursuing this because it’s my dream or because it’s my coaches dream or my parents dream? That is the primary starting point to be able to get a baseline for whether or not this is what they really want,” she said.